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Politics

Okinawa base transfer costs to more than double to $8.5bn

Construction to take longer, with return of the base also delayed

Land reclamation is in progress in the Henoko area of Nago, Okinawa Prefecture, but the project will not be completed at least until 2030.   © Kyodo

TOKYO (Kyodo) -- The Defense Ministry said Wednesday it now estimates the costs to relocate a key U.S. military base within Okinawa will more than double the current budget to 930 billion yen ($8.5 billion) and the construction period needs to be extended to over nine years.

The ministry also said it will take 12 years to complete the project of moving U.S. Marine Corps Air Station Futenma from a crowded residential area of Ginowan to the less populated coastal zone of Henoko.

Under the current plan, the construction will take five years to be finished and the land used for the U.S. air base will be returned to Japan in fiscal 2022 or later, with the project costs totaling 350 billion yen.

But the ministry said it will take nine years and three months to complete the construction for the replacement facility as additional work is necessary to reinforce the weak seafloor in an area where the landfill work is due to be carried out off the coast of Henoko in the city of Nago.

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